The Bundestag (the German Parliament) has voted by a large majority to extend the Bundeswehr’s (German Military Forces) three missions abroad in Kosovo, Mali and Lebanon on June 19.
The German deployments aim to stabilise, enhance border security and train the troops of the countries. There are a total of 2,600 German soldiers stationed outside Germany.
Paying over US$ 640 million, Germany is the fourth largest contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping budget, totalling $ 9 billion, for the period from July 2014 to June 2015 after the US, Japan and France.
The Bundestag decided to send troops to Kosovo, after UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244 was adopted on June 10 1999 and on June 12, in the framework of the international mission in the Republic of Kosovo (KFOR) aiming to ensure safety and stability in the region.
Currently 770 German troops are participating in the mission, which could be raised to 1,850. The costs of Germany’s deployments for the next year are estimated at 47 million euros (50 million dollars). Germany has provided at least 480 million euros in funding to NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) and 25.5 million euros has been reserved for the country’s energy grid, infrastructure and waste disposal.
The situation in Kosovo is generally stable but the necessity for a military presence could potentially cause conflict in the Kosovo-Serb dominated north of the country, especially the Mitrovica region.
The Bundestag also discussed sending troops to Lebanon to protect the country’s coast and Mali to help train the country’s military. According to the German Cabinet decision, up to 300 troops will continue to be deployed off Lebanon’s coast until June 30, 2016.
The Bundeswehr’s task is to safeguard Lebanon’s maritime borders and to develop the capabilities of the Lebanese navy. Following this Lebanon will be able to protect its own borders.
The UN-led mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is making a key contribution towards the normalisation of relations between Israel and Lebanon.
Since 2012, Germany has provided Lebanon with around 247 million euros to cope with the influx of refugees, which it is using to pay the school fees of about 60 percent of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.
The policy has been extended until 30 June 2016, to mandate the Bundeswehr’s participation in the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Germany will provide 150 soldiers and aims to stabilise the security situation and the political process in northern Mali as well as help humanitarian organisations gain access to the country.
The German Government is developing close ties with Mali in the training of its police and security forces within the framework of the EU Training Mission (EUTM).